China's Ministry of Transport has signed a deal with Eurocopter for another two EC225 helicopters, following up on a 2007 order for two EC225s that went to the China Rescue and Salvage Bureau.

The helicopters, which will be delivered in 2011, will be used for search and rescue missions. They will augment the ministry's fleet of 10 helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft, which are operated by four flight teams stationed throughout China.

"This purchase underlines the MOT's continued vote of confidence in our product range. The EC225 helicopter boasts modern search and rescue capabilities and we are extremely confident in its strong market potential in China", says Norbert Ducrot, Senior Vice-President Asia Pacific sales for Eurocopter.

Song Jiahui, director general of the China Rescue and Salvage Bureau, adds: "We have successfully completed several successful operations with the EC225 helicopters over the last two years and we are very pleased with their performance. We are convinced that this new acquisition will help us to better meet the demands of a professional maritime rescue team and protect the safety of our people during times of natural catastrophes."

In August, the twin-engine EC225s were deployed to rescue 11 seamen who were caught at sea during the Morakot typhoon. They are also credited with saving over 100 lives during the relief efforts after last year's devastating earthquake in Sichuan province.

Eurocopter says that the Chinese EC225s will be equipped with search and rescue equipment such as search lights and hoists. The company claims that it has a 40% market share in China, amounting to 400 helicopters that includes those that were license-produced in the country.

Source: Flight International